De­sign legacy

Omar Nakkash, In­te­rior De­signer at Nakkash Gallery, re­veals the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind the gallery’s new col­lec­tion


This spring, Omar and Wa­jih Nakkash cre­ated a lim­ited-edi­tion col­lec­tion of fur­ni­ture that cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion of col­lec­tors, de­sign­ers and ar­chi­tects at De­sign Days Dubai. This inim­itable com­bi­na­tion of two gen­er­a­tions of style, sub­stance and aes­thetic judg­ment bears wit­ness both to the dra­matic de­vel­op­ment of the city’s de­sign scene and to the pow­er­ful and pro­found legacy of the duo’s gallery.

After six con­sec­u­tive of years ex­hibit­ing, the duo de­cided that this year’s fair was the ideal time for the launch. “At the in­au­gu­ral edi­tion of De­sign Days Dubai in 2012 we were the only lo­cally-based ex­hibitor – and we have re­turned ev­ery year since with col­lec­tions from in­ter­na­tional de­sign­ers, of­fer­ing them an op­por­tu­nity ex­hibit their work… But this year it felt right to use this plat­form our­selves,” says Omar.

As the son of Dubai de­sign roy­alty Wa­jih Nakkash – Founder and Di­rec­tor of Nakkash Gallery – Omar is forg­ing the gallery’s fu­ture with his ed­u­cated eye, keen busi­ness acu­men and stream­lined de­sign phi­los­o­phy.

His ap­proach to de­sign, in­flu­enced by favourites Wa­jih Nakkash, Gio Ponti, and Her­zog & de Meu­ron, is vi­sion­ary yet grounded. “My de­sign phi­los­o­phy re­volves around sim­plic­ity and el­e­gance. It em­bod­ies time­less aes­thet­ics while main­tain­ing a strik­ing look that is unique,” he says.

This is re­flected in the time­less, el­e­gant sen­si­bil­ity of their col­lec­tion, which in­cludes the Luna book­case, Or­bit table se­ries and iconic 7 Salutes con­sole, which pays trib­ute to the na­tional sym­bol of His High­ness Sheikh Mo­hammed bin Rashid Al Mak­toum’s three fin­ger-salute.

They are a com­bi­na­tion of Wa­jih’s time­less ap­proach and Omar’s mod­ern and min­i­mal­is­tic style, with just a touch of in­dus­trial so­phis­ti­ca­tion.

“When my fa­ther and I de­cided to de­sign our own col­lec­tion the first con­ver­sa­tion we had was about the ex­plo­ration of ma­te­ri­als. We asked our­selves: How we could de­sign a col­lec­tion where the ma­te­ri­als are not just one el­e­ment to the de­sign but rather the essence of the pieces them­selves? We wanted to fo­cus on the hon­esty of ma­te­ri­als, so we de­cided to work with ma­te­ri­als that con­tra­dict and yet com­ple­ment each other.”

This vi­sion is ex­em­pli­fied in their se­lec­tions. “We chose dark Em­per­ador mar­ble and brushed iron. They con­tra­dict each other in terms of mass. When you ad­mire the Or­bit table se­ries, the mar­ble base is the dom­i­nant ma­te­rial, while the iron top sits on it ethe­re­ally; it is only 2 mm thick. Both el­e­ments com­ple­ment each other. The dark mas­cu­line colours are a di­rect re­sult of the el­e­ments used to cre­ate the pieces and the way they were as­sem­bled,” he ex­plains. Ahead of the game Founded in 1983, Nakkash Gallery of­fers a cut­ting-edge se­lec­tion of his­tor­i­cal and iconic fur­ni­ture, to­gether with ex­cep­tional pieces of con­tem­po­rary de­sign by in­ter­na­tional and renowned de­sign­ers.

The weight of his­tory and the prom­ise of the fu­ture means Omar, who can be found at Kinokuniya book store when he needs to be in­spired, faces many chal­lenges as a de­sign leader. But he faces them with his trade­mark hu­mil­ity.

“I sim­ply fo­cus on my projects and try to im­prove my skills on a daily ba­sis.

-Omar Nakkash “My de­sign phi­los­o­phy re­volves around sim­plic­ity and el­e­gance. It em­bod­ies time­less aes­thet­ics while main­tain­ing a strik­ing look that is unique.”

I am lucky to be pur­su­ing my pas­sion for de­sign – to be hon­est I don’t worry about be­ing a ‘ de­sign leader’, or about my fu­ture legacy,” he ex­plains.

The gallery’s suc­cess has taken place along­side Dubai’s ex­po­nen­tial growth as an in­ter­na­tional de­sign cen­tre and Omar is quick to note how it’s im­pacted the gallery and his goals.

“Thanks to the many dif­fer­ent ini­tia­tives and plat­forms tak­ing place in Dubai, such as Art Week and De­sign Week, the aware­ness of, and in­ter­est in, de­sign as a whole has in­creased tremen­dously through­out the years”, says Omar.

“With so many peo­ple com­ing from all cor­ners of the world, and with them, their unique tastes and pref­er­ences, it has cre­ated a need for the gal­leries based here to step up to the chal­lenge.”

He is also quick to note that col­lect­ing trends are be­com­ing as di­ver­si­fied as the city. “We’ve re­alised that peo­ple are col­lect­ing smaller ob­jects and are not your ‘ typ­i­cal’ col­lec­tors,” he says.

His favourite piece? The Luna book­case. “In my opin­ion [it] adds a dis­tinct touch of el­e­gance to any space and re­fines the life­style of the col­lec­tor.”

Re­fin­ing the gallery’s ap­proach to en­rich­ing the life­style of its clien­tele is a new and ex­cit­ing step. “It’s only nat­u­ral for a gallery of such cal­i­bre to ex­pand and of­fer won­der­ful de­sign to a broader au­di­ence. I hope to in­tro­duce other mar­kets around the world to our style. We are also plan­ning to of­fer wed­ding reg­istries to brides so they can en­joy a beau­ti­ful se­lec­tion of fur­ni­ture to de­sign their dream homes.” The Nakkash’s fu­ture is as ex­pan­sive as their think­ing.

Mo­saico con­sole

Sus­pend lamp

Play table

Or­bit table se­ries

Omar (left) and Wa­jih Nakkash

Angel fig­urine Nip­pon book­case

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